Alexander Pushkin: a Russian writer with African origins


posted on: November 30th, 2018

Alexander Pushkin was a famous Russian writer. He was born in the year 1799. Many people think he was the greatest Russian writer ever. However, what is especially interesting about Pushkin is that his great-grandfather was from Africa.


Pushkin’s great grandfather was named Abram Petrovich Gannibal. We think he was born around the year 1698 near Lake Chad. Today, it would be in Cameroon. Abram was brought from Africa to Russia when he was 9 years old. He was brought there as a gift to the Russian Tsar known as Peter the Great. ‘Tsar’ is what kings in Russia used to be called.


Abram was very intelligent, and Peter the Great liked him for this. He liked him so much, that he made Abram his godson. This meant Abram lived a very good life. Peter took Abram on journeys all around the world with the Russian army.


In the year 1717, Peter the Great sent Abram to France so that he could receive the best education in the world. Abram could speak several languages and became very good at maths. He joined the French army in 1718 and became a captain. Later, he returned to Russia, and still lived a good life after Peter the Great died. He worked there as an engineer. He had eleven children, all of whom lived at the top of Russian society, too. He died at the old age of 92.


Pushkin was very proud of his African origins. He was so proud of them, that he wrote about them in his books. In his novel called ‘Evgenii Onegin’, he mentions his African roots twice right at the start. He even talks about ‘my Africa’ in it sometimes. Evgenii Onegin is a very famous book. Some people think it is the best thing Pushkin wrote. Pushkin also wrote a novel about his great-grandfather Abram. He did not finish it, but it is still famous. The book has even been turned into a film.

It is very interesting that today one of Russia’s best, most famous writers ever was partly African. It shows the impact African people have had around the world, even in places and times we might not have expected. Pushkin never forgot about his great-grandfather Abram, and we should not forget about him either.

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